The stressful life of an independent meeting planner and business owner can lead to asking oneself some tough questions.
Have you ever felt that everything around you is collapsing? Do you have challenging clients? Are you juggling between your company and your family? Is it really worth it?
You may be wondering how to get out of the vicious cycle of working hard—harder than ever before—but not being able to develop your business above a certain level.
Chances are that nobody ever told you about that.
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You knew how to create unique experiences for your clients. You knew how to organize amazing events. You knew how to negotiate with hotels.
You were maybe working in a large organization with a large team around you. You were thinking about starting your own business for a long time.
Then, one day you had an opportunity to go out on your own and you decided to start a business. You had some early successes and you deserved it. Congratulations!
Regardless, as great as you are at running events, you never learned how to run a business … and it’s not your fault. Today, you have to make decisions on everything; you don’t have a support system anymore and chances are that you are the bread-winner for the family, and next year your oldest child is starting college.
I know what you are feeling. I have been there, and so has Emily Kratt, managing director of INNOVATX Events in Austin, Texas.
“No one ever told me that I would never have a day off after starting a business,” Kratt said. “I have days when I stress about our events, about my leadership skills, about expanding.
"The list goes on and on," she added.
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Despite the “look at how awesome my life is” Facebook posts or Instagram pictures, I don’t know one single independent meeting planner or event business owner who has not experienced that feeling at least once.
It’s the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurial life. It’s tough, it’s hard, it feels lonely. But it will pass if you conquer it head-on.
Independent Meeting Planners: 7 Coping Strategies for Stress
Here are a few suggestions for dealing with those stressful moments that impact every independent meeting planner and business owner:
- Reach out to your spouse, other family members or best friends. They are the ones who are supportive and who will lift you up, not the ones who say, “I told you so.” Talk to them. Share your doubts with them. Let it out.
- Take a break, even for few hours. Take time for yourself. Meditate. Go for a walk.
- Reach out to your “personal advisory board.” This is the group you have created that is supporting your business. “The most valuable thing you can have is a strong support system,” Kratt said.
- Create a success file and look at all the great things you’ve achieved so far. This is an amazing concept I learned from Susan Ford Collins, and I now have an Evernote file in which I write down my successes and can browse through them when I need a boost.
- Go back to your calendar. Are you blocking off enough time for the things that matter to you?
- Think again about why you embarked on the journey of being an independent meeting planner and/or business owner in the first place. Kratt reassures herself by reflecting: “I also always remember why I got into this whole entrepreneur thing,” she said. “On the days when I want to throw my laptop off of my hotel balcony, I remember that I signed up for this.”
- Don’t make any decision until you are back in a calm state and can reflect on your business. It’s urgent to wait!
We never make it alone. What is important is the journey.
Carpe diem noctem que (seize the day and night!).
Independent Life is a monthly column by meetings industry veteran and author Eric Rozenberg, who writes about the challenges and opportunities of being an independent planner.
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